Entertainment And News

Family Accused Of Beating Gay Man Who Allegedly Had A Secret Relationship With Their Son, Leaving Him Blind

Photo: Karli Barnett / Twitter
Three Florida Family Members Charged In Attack Of Gay Man Who Was Left Blind

Three Florida family members have been accused of assaulting a 31-year-old gay man in a suspected hate crime.

Mother Inna Makarenko, 44, father Yehven Makarenko, 43, and son Oleh Makarenko, 21, broke into a Pompano Beach house in August and beat the unidentified man, leaving him permanently blind and with other severe injuries.

All three members of the Florida family are facing charges for attacking the man.

The Makarenko's are facing potential life sentences under charges of attempted murder, burglary battery, and kidnapping.

Arrest forms indicate that the attack was premeditated. Prosecutors said that the Makarenkos knew the man and attacked him because of his sexuality. This development led to hate crime charges being added on April 12.

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“They secretly, forcibly or by threat abducted or imprisoned the victim against his will… to terrorize him,” the arrest form reads

Defense attorneys have denied Makarenkos involvement in the attack and said they did not know him prior to the incident.

“Many, if not all of them, didn’t even know this person in any way shape, or form and they adamantly denied being there at the residence for any of the incident,” defense attorney Michael Glasser said.

“Thus far, there’s really been scant and borderline nothing remotely compelling that points to this family having anything to do with this poor guy's injuries.”

Glasser accused the man of altering his story after the fact. He said that the man first told police he sustained his injuries from a drunken fall, then told them months later that the family beat him because he was in a secret relationship with Oleh Makarenko.

“He said, ‘Oh, now I have a recollection of what happened, and it was this family, and they came and beat me because I was in a relationship with her son and they didn’t like it,’” Glasser said.

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A fourth member of the Makarenko family, 25-year-old Vladyslav, has since been connected to the attack. Authorities transported him to Broward County Jail from Alabama. All four are being held without bond.

Karli Barnett, a reporter for CBS Miami, visited the Makarenkos’ home on Tuesday. A man who claimed to be a family friend answered the door but declined to comment.

Signs bearing a QR code with the accompanying text “help Ukrainian refugees wrongly jailed” were posted on the house’s mailbox.

The QR code led to an online petition calling for the family’s release. The petition has 360 signatures and the family has raised roughly $4,000 for their defense using a separate link.

“The three arrested family members— mother, father, and son are being accused of severe crimes with multiple charges against them!” the description reads. “These could result in a life-in-prison-sentence in the United States or (if even possible) deportation back to Ukraine — where an excruciating war is happening now.”

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. He majors in journalism at the University of Central Florida with a minor in sports business. Follow him on Twitter.